Phase out residential lighting programs? Not so fast…

LED, or light-emitting diode, bulbs have become a major market player in recent years and can be expected to grow when new lighting efficiency standards come into effect in 2020. Utilities might be tempted to think that there is little of this “low-hanging fruit” left for residential efficiency programs to pluck. Before utility program planners sunset this portfolio mainstay, however, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy You are leaving WAPA.gov. suggests you take a closer look at the particulars of your program.

Well-designed lighting programs will likely continue to garner savings for utilities through 2019, but the outlook gets more complicated on January 1, 2020. For one thing, regional differences play a role in how lighting programs perform after the standards are raised. LED adoption varies from state to state and even within states. In most of WAPA’s territory, LEDs are between 20 and 30 percent of the light bulbs purchased. That leaves plenty of room for an effective program to grow the market.

Sales data indicates that lighting programs and retail support are strong drivers of LED adoption. Also, preliminary evidence from New York and Massachusetts indicate that LED adoption drops when programs end. So utilities would be premature to start scaling back their lighting programs—certainly where LED sales are low, and even in states like California where LEDs represent 40 percent of light bulb sales.

ACEEE identifies several program options that could continue the progress in lighting efficiency, even after the standards go into effect.

  • Underserved markets: Lighting programs can find additional savings by targeting rural, elderly and low-income market segments that have been slower to adopt LEDs.
  • Specialty lamps: LED versions of popular specialty lamp styles are now available, including decorative, candelabra, globe and reflector lamps. Yet these styles sell significantly fewer units than general-purpose LED lamps, suggesting that consumers need more education about the products.
  • High quality lamps: Programs should continue to promote high-performing ENERGY STAR-branded products, rather than “value” LED lamps that do not meet ENERGY STAR standards.
  • Controls: Dimming and occupancy controls offer significant additional savings opportunities. Lighting programs can help connect consumers to quality control solutions that are easy to install and operate.

While residential lighting efficiency programs still have plenty of savings left to tap, the technology’s increasing efficiency will eventually end their usefulness. It is not too soon for utilities to start considering the next opportunities for helping customers control and reduce their energy use.

Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 4/9/18

Advanced lighting controls subject of E3T webinar

April 17
Noon PDT

The Emerging Technologies Showcase Redirecting to a non-government site series continues with the free webinar, Advanced Lighting Control Systems.

With scheduling, dimming, occupancy sensing, demand response capabilities and more, these systems can capture big energy savings for commercial customers, especially large key accounts. This webinar explores a few of these systems – how they work, their benefits and drawbacks and recent case studies.

Register today Redirecting to a non-government site to reserve your place.

The next Showcase, on Tuesday, April 30, will cover the National Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap Portfolio. This collaborative tool identifies new energy-efficient products and services still in the research phase that need to be tested and verified before they can be introduced into the marketplace.

Sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) with support from Western, the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinars present the latest information about some promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research opportunities or focus areas.

All webinars are recorded, and available online Redirecting to a non-government site.